Hundreds of firefighters - backed up by 11 aircraft - battled a third wildfire in the Los Angeles area Friday as two more raged within 60 miles of one another.
The latest - known as the Crown Fire - has ignited more than 5,000 acres, fire officials said. The other two have blackened more than 17,000 acres.
About 500 firefighters were at the scene of the Crown Fire on Friday. The L.A. County Sheriff's Department said mandatory evacuation orders from overnight had been lifted, but a voluntary evacuation remained in effect. Residents should be ready to evacuate at any time, and follow instructions of deputies, the department said. Areas affected included some parts of Leona Valley, Ritter Ranch, Anaverde and Palmdale in northern Los Angeles County.
Four heavy tankers, one DC-10 and six helicopters will be making drops of fire retardant Friday, according to Michael Bryant, incident commander for the L.A. County Fire Department. The DC-10 made its first drop at 7:48 a.m. as officials briefed reporters in Leona Valley. Bryant said the aircraft can drop between 1,000 and 2,200 gallons of liquid at a time.
The priority Friday, Bryant said, was preventing the Crown Fire from destroying power lines that provide electricity throughout Southern California. The lines are very near the fire.